Redundancy in a pandemic

Redundancy During A Pandemic – Is There A Difference?

Sorry to be the bearers of bad news, but, in short, there isn’t a difference to the redundancy process during a pandemic. Worringly, we have had quite a few comments along the lines of ‘if I’m making people on furlough redundant, I don’t need to run a consultation period’ or ‘due to the pandemic I can confirm redundancies straight away’ which has prompted us to prepare some guidance.

Even during a pandemic employment law still stands, and whilst we will always advise commercially, there are some corners that just aren’t worth your while cutting. Particularly when those redundant employees may find it difficult to find re-employment and have lots of free time to spend making a claim against you.

Redundancy process during a pandemic remains the same

 

The basic redundancy process is a simple one to follow but, as with most of these things, is littered with pitfalls. Couple that with the potential complexities of collective consultation, extended consultation, selection pools, and selection criteria, it’s no wonder that it’s thought the tribunal offices will be overrun with claims relating to furlough and redundancy at the end of the year.

To write everything down that could possibly need to be considered, or the paths you need to follow in regards to redundancy would quite frankly take us all day (and possibly send you to sleep whilst reading) so we have put together some of the key points to start you off before you might be in need of our jargon-busting helping hands.

  • Firstly, you should outline your rationale for making any potential redundancies. This is likely to be due to the current COVID-19 pandemic and the impact on the economy which has in turn impacted your business. However, looking at where this has actually impacted within your teams and departments will help you identify who may be at risk.
  • You can then begin to identify the employees impacted and consider which skills and experience you need to retain in your business for the future.
  • You will then need to consider if roles are ‘standalone’ and should be treated as such or if you will need to look at pools of employees who do the same role if that role is to be reduced in numbers.
  • Where pools have been identified, consider the selection criteria you would use to identify the levels of skills, knowledge, experience, and any other criteria that is vital to the business.

Basic steps to redundancy

 

A basic redundancy process, where you are making fewer than 20 redundancies, consists of the following main stages:

  • Hold ‘at risk’ meetings with the affected employees, let them know that their role is at risk, why this is the case, and the proposed process which you intend to follow. Follow this up in writing.
  • Hold at least one consultation meeting (best practice is to allow employees to be accompanied) to consider alternatives to redundancy and answer any questions employees may have.
  • Hold a final redundancy meeting, review the process and considerations thus far. Communicate the final decision, either confirming redundancy or not, confirm payments and follow up in writing giving the right to appeal the decision.

Although this seems simple enough, do not be fooled! There are so many twists and turns this process can take. Here at Streetwise however, we make sure it feels simple by helping you through both the straightforward and more tricky parts to ensure you are legally compliant. Get in touch today by calling the team on 0844 682 7488.

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